The National World War II Museum in New Orleans will be opening a new pavilion that highlights the military equipment that helped the Allied victory. The 26,000-square-foot glass-fronted Freedom Pavilion-Boeing Center addition will open this weekend.
Standing on the ground floor, visitors will look up to see six stars of the World War II aircraft fleet suspended from the industrial ceiling. They can get a closer look standing on one of two walkways crossing over the hall. Curator Eric Rivet explains some of what’s on display:
“There’s a B-17 above us, which is a four-engine heavy bomber. If you asked anybody to think of an airplane from World War II, that’s probably the one plane most people will think of. There’s also a Dauntless, which is a U.S. Navy dive bomber that’s famous for the Battle of Midway, where we sank four Japanese carriers. That’s the type of plane that sank all four of them.”
Down below are tanks and other artillery vehicles. Those exhibits will change over time.
“We have a warehouse full of vehicles that we’ve never had space to display. And so we’ll be able to rotate the vehicles that we have because they all still run," he said. "So, one month you might come here and see a Sherman tank, and come back a month later and it’ll be gone. There’ll be something else here to take its place.”
There are also interactive exhibits. One highlights the final mission of the USS Tang submarine. Another is called the Wall of Heroes, which tells details of all 464 men awarded the Medal of Honor for their World War II service.
Since it opened in June of 2000, the museum has attracted more than three million visitors. Ceremonies to mark the latest addition are set for Saturday. It opens to the public on Sunday.